The sense of freedom that comes with owning your own home is only amplified when you add to it in ways that reflect your values, needs, and lifestyle. Renewable energy isn’t an exception: it can really do a lot to renew your home environment. If you’ve already looked into this option, and are ready to give it a try, there’s plenty of information that can guide you with the first few steps of switching to solar.
So here are the steps that you’ll have to take when you start making the shift – having an idea of them will help you once you’re ready to get started.
1. Take Stock of Your Home’s Suitability
It’s important to get a good feel for the elements of your home that will contribute to a solar panel system’s effectiveness – or potentially take away from it. Make sure to have a look at the following:
- Roofing material. Asphalt is ideal for solar panels, and will cost you the least, but tile, rubber membrane, and metal are also viable.
- Roof’s age. The easiest rooftops to work with are those that are less than 10 years old. That said, solar panels can be installed on an older roof that is in very good condition.
- Amount of shade. As you might imagine, the less shade you have hitting your roof, the better off you’ll be when it comes to solar energy. Keep in mind as well that solar panels function most effectively on south-facing roofs.
While you’re figuring out how many solar panels you will need for your home, you can also make small changes and eco-friendly upgrades. For example, switching out incandescent bulbs for LEDs or CFLs, can do a great deal to help to improve your home’s energy efficiency, as well as save you money once you switch to solar energy.
2. Explore Installer Options
With solar energy’s rising accessibility, there are countless companies you could work with to install a solar panel system. Figuring out which one is right for you is going to come down to a few different factors. But you should keep the following in mind as you research and compare options:
- Look into licensing. You can do this research online; just make sure that the company you want has all of the state licensure that they need to be considered legitimate. It’s also helpful to know if they have a strong track record of completed installations.
- References can help. If you have friends or family members who have successfully installed solar panel systems, talk to them about their thoughts and recommendations. They can tell you whether certain companies’ costs were reasonable, and if their systems are still working well now.
- Ask for quotes and site evaluations. Most installers provide free site evaluations and quotes, so make sure you take advantage of this. They should also have a detailed look at your typical energy consumption, costs, and needs, so you figure out what the right size system would be.
Once you’ve weighed your choices, and decided who you think will be the most thorough in installing your system, you’ll be ready to finalize your switch to solar.
3. Begin the Installation Phase
After figuring out the size and pricing you want for your solar panel system, it’ll be time for the installer to take over with the technical aspect of the installation. This is a multi-step process that will last several days, and should include getting permits from your city or locality, as well as sending applications for incentives to utility companies. Any rebates they can send will help decrease the upfront costs you pay.
The actual installation will take place once you have all of your permits, the system has been fully designed, and your installers have set a date. This process is actually shorter than the lead-up, and should take around four to six hours. After that, the installer will help you with the final inspection, and walk you through how to set up your billing arrangement with the utility company.
4. Fire Up Your Connection
There is a last step after installation, of course, and it’s important: you have to get permission to operate from the utility company to finalize your switch to solar. Depending upon your state and utility provider, it could take several days and up to a few weeks to finish this. But once it’s complete, and your system has been evaluated as sound, you should be in the clear to start enjoying your new solar connection.
A Brighter Future With Solar Energy
Switching to solar is straightforward, but it’s certainly not a single-step process. Having a clearer idea of what it takes to make this change can help you cover all your bases: if you’re not going in blind, you can make better financial, personal, and spatial preparations. Then, once your solar panel system is in place, it’ll be easier to take a step back and appreciate this move you’ve made towards energy independence and a cleaner environmental impact.
For most homes, owning a solar system makes economic sense as Solar saves you money every minute from day 1 of installation. If you own the system, you’re also building equity value in your home and you are also making a positive impact on the environment over your lifetime. Going solar just makes sense and here is how to estimate your savings with solar here.